burglar iPhone 5 launch

The iPhone 5 launched today. You might have waited in line, or maybe you pre-ordered it online. Or maybe a kind individual bought you one as a present. But we're guessing you didn't steal one. Or at least we hope. Unfortunately, there have been several recent reports of  iPhone and iPad related theft around the world leading up to today's iPhone 5 launch.

The Wall Street Journal recently said that authorities in Japan investigated three wireless carrier locations after 191 iPhone 5 units vanished. Apparently three men had been creeping around a KDDI store at around 3 a.m. local time early Friday morning, before 33 phones went missing. An additional 116 were stolen from a Softbank store where, again, three men were spotted. Oddly enough, the bunch also took an iPhone 5 display. A third store reported 42 missing iPhone 5 units, which represented all but two that the store had in stock. Japan isn't the only country that was hit with burglaries.

The BBC said 252 iPhone 5 units were stolen from a Wimbledon, London store. At least one location in the U.S. was also targeted. According to The Atlantic Wire, a thief stole $100,000 in iPhones and iPads from a Best Buy in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Strangely enough, the Best Buy store manager was sitting outside of the store while the thief crept in and out.

iPhone thefts aren't unusual, of course. New York City has long warned commuters to avoid taking out cell phones on public transit and, following the iPod and original iPhone launches, the white cables were pointed to as a dead giveaway that someone was carrying a valuable Apple product. It is unusual, however, to hear about so many retail thefts on a launch day.

[via The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Wire]